Christianity Lite

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We need to talk about Haiti. I know you’ve probably had more Haiti on your television than you’d like to see for some time; you’ve had enough. My question, though, is, “What more could Christians have done for that poor land?”

Haiti is actually a largely Christian country, with Roman Catholicism professed by 80% of the Haitians. Protestants made up about 16% of the population. And then there’s Haitian Voodoo, which is practiced by roughly half of the population. Now it’s in that demographic that you get a hint of the problem, don’t you? Did you see it?

How can you have a population that is 96% Christian and 50% practitioners of Voodoo? Something is not quite right in Haiti, and it’s a hard thing to say. Is there anything that we Christians might have done that we left undone?

Several years ago, I read a book entitled White Man’s Grave. It was the story of the search for a missing son in Sierra Leone, Africa. The title was the name given to Sierra Leone by slavers who used to call there. I don’t even remember what the purpose of the book was. I was so overwhelmed by the descriptions of tribal life, and the religion and superstitions of those people that I was left feeling hopeless. How on Earth, I wondered, could the Christian faith penetrate that darkness?

After some years, I began to see it in the chain that led to the tragic spread of AIDS in Africa. Being a Bible teacher (and in my career I’ve taught all of it, front to back), I came to see in the theories of the development of the disease in Africa a chain of broken laws. Laws the African people never knew because, in many cases, even the Christian missionaries didn’t bother to tell them. The law that would have prevented AIDS from becoming epidemic in Africa, I concluded, was the Law of Moses.

If memory serves, in a previous program I did (“A Covenant for AIDS”), I found a sequence of about seven laws; any one of which, faithfully observed throughout Africa, would have prevented AIDS from ever getting a foothold in that continent.

Now, while I musing about the wretchedness of Haiti, an article arrived on my desk by Mary Eberstadt. I think she has coined a new term for the Christian failure that’s been much on my mind, and I never got a title on it. Her article (which appeared in the January 2010 edition of First Things) was titled Christianity Lite


Ronald L. Dart

Ronald L. Dart (1934–2016) — People around the world have come to appreciate his easy style, non-combative approach to explaining the Bible, and the personal, almost one-on-one method of explaining what’s going on in the world in the light of the Bible. After retiring from teaching and church administration in 1995 he started Christian Educational Ministries and the Born to Win radio program.

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